If you have pasture for livestock – or if you have any large acreage where you want healthy vegetation to flourish – then how you control weeds is very important. Because without good weed control, you’ll reduce hay and grazing quality.
In this video, we’ll take a look at the two basic ways to control weeds. Mowing and spraying. There are other pasture management practices you can also employ, but for dealing with weeds that are already there, mowing or spraying are your two best options.
Periodic mowing is a helpful practice if you’re able to cut weeds after they’ve grown above the height of the grass, but before they’ve filled out with seeds. That will help control their spread.
For this task, a rotary cutter is the ideal tool to use, like a John Deere HX15 Flex-Wing Rotary Cutter (USCA). It has a cutting width of 15 feet (4.6 m) and a cutting height from 1 – 16 inches (2.54 – 40.64 cm). It’s also a pretty big rotary cutter. So, we matched it with a John Deere6145M Utility Tractor (USCA), which has 145 engine horsepower (108 kW).
By cutting the weeds like this before the seeds set, you’re preventing them from spreading and limiting their ability to grow and survive. However, if your pasture land is primarily used for livestock grazing, you’ll probably want the desirable vegetation, like grass, to grow more than 4-inches tall (10.2 cm). In that case, rotary cutting to control weeds will only provide a very temporary solution.
For a longer-lasting solution, spraying your pasture with an appropriate herbicide is one that stands a better chance of being successful.
In this video, we’re using a Frontier LS1130 Sprayer (USCA), along with that same John Deere 6145M Utility Tractor. This sprayer has a 30-foot (9 m) working width and a 250-gallon (946.35 L) tank. We also added 8, 104-pound (47 kg) suitcase weights to the front of our tractor for ballast, so our total tractor and implement package will be ballasted correctly.
The pasture we worked in is located in southeast Kansas, and is used for grazing cattle. It’s early spring and it’s spotted with a wide variety of undesirable weeds and small trees including Osage Orange, the producer of hedge apples. We sprayed a solution of 2,4-D herbicide mixed with water according to the package specifications for the weed species found in this pasture, while leaving the good grass we want for the cattle alone.
Since the 2,4-D won’t work on the Osage Orange that have popped up here and there in the pasture, we’ll spot spray them later with a brush killer.
If you’re unsure about what the specific weeds are on your property that you’d like to control, contact your local county extension office. They can be very helpful in identifying the various vegetation species you might be up against and your best options for controlling them.
Frontier has nearly 600 implements that are available only from your John Deere dealer, the place to go for advice and equipment.
So remember, for implements that help turn your tractor into the workhorse it was built to be, think Frontier and your John Deere dealer.
And lastly, always read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.